Hyderabad: The mammoth Sakala Janabheri public meeting witnessed more than expected footfalls at Saroornagar stadium as thousands of employees and supporters were waiting outside the stadium. Leaders of all opposition political parties, social organisations in addition to RTC employees, echoed the Telangana spirit of fighting until justice is done.
TPCC working president Revanth Reddy recalled what KCR said recently on bifurcation of APSRTC. “Our Chief Minister said that APSRTC bifurcation in 42:58 ratio is not done. Hence, dues are not settled. Going by what KCR said, the decision of the AP government to merge APSRTC with the state government will also apply to TSRTC as well. TSRTC employees are facing three major problems. They are the mismanagement at TSRTC, the attitude of the TRS government, and merger issue. TRS ministers say that merger assurance was not in their party manifesto. I question KCR and his Cabinet ministers whether 50:20:30 formula for TSRTC was mentioned in their manifesto. We had witnessed several massive public meetings in support of Telangana statehood. Again in our Telangana state, we’re seeing such public meetings like this against the dictator KCR,” said Revanth Reddy.
Telangana Jana Samithi (TJS) chief professor Kodandaram expressed concerns over how the TRS government is suppressing the voice of TSRTC employees. RTC played a vital role in transporting people to make public meetings on Telangana statehood a huge success. Unfortunately, same RTC employees took other vehicles to reach here to make this meeting a success, said Kodandaram.
Revanth Reddy further elaborated on how irrational tax structure is financially affecting the TSRTC. TSRTC is not in losses, but was pushed into a financial crunch, observed Revanth Reddy.
“The TRS government increased VAT on diesel from 22 per cent to 27.5 per cent, while reducing the tax on aviation turbine fuel to just one per cent from 34 per cent. The hike in tax on diesel resulted in Rs 700 crore additional annual burden on TSRTC. Moreover, the TRS government has not paid dues towards as many as 18 types of bus passes to several sections of society. KCR family and his relatives are encroaching the properties of TSRTC,” remarked Revanth Reddy.
“If the Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao doesn’t resolve the RTC problems, then we’ll take up another Million March on the tank bund for protection of TSRTC. The current bus fare was fixed when the diesel price was Rs 45 per litre. Now, the diesel price is over Rs 72 per litre. We demand tax rebate on diesel and payment of dues immediately. Merging TSRTC with the state government is the only solution for saving the transport corporation and resolving all problems. KCR says average salary is Rs 50,000 per month. Driver with over 25 years of experience is not getting more than Rs 35,000. TSRTC has the lowest wages. All political parties, associations, and teachers are supporting RTC employees. I appeal to all RTC employees not to lose confidence. We’re on the victory path, and KCR is at a loss,” said Kodandaram.
Revanth Reddy appreciated TSRTC employees and supporters from political parties, social organisations for participating in large number. Despite non-availability of red bus due to the ongoing TSRTC strike, employees and supporters made it a grand success, he said.
“Telanganites never fought for welfare schemes and sops, but instead they struggled for freedom. Earlier, everyone thought that Telangana statehood was a solution to every problem. Telanganites fought for freedom and overall economic development of the region. Unfortunately, we’re witnessing such agitations against the dictatorship of KCR. After Telangana state became a reality, we saw a major agitation for classification of SC category at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi. Now, the Sakala Janabheri is the second major agitation in the Telangana state. United AP chief minister permitted the Million March, but Telangana CM denied permission to Sakala Janabheri. We had to get it from the High Court. This is a classic example of how democracy is sustaining in Telangana,” Revanth Reddy voiced concerns.
Telangana TDP president L Ramana said KCR’s attitude was the root cause of the problem at TSRTC. “KCR wants to privatise TSRTC. The demands of employees are reasonable,” said Ramana.
Expressing concerns over the suicides, CPI state secretary Chada Venkata Reddy held KCR responsible for 14 deaths of TSRTC employees, while suggesting the Centre to intervene and resolve the problem.
“Due to the fear and anxiety created by KCR, employees were forced to commit suicide. So far, 14 employees committed suicide. He didn’t even permit this meeting. We had to get the approval from the High Court. Is it democracy in Telangana?” JAC convener Ashwathama Reddy questioned.
JAC co-convener Raji Reddy further raised a question to the Chief Minister to name an employee who’s getting Rs 50,000 salary.
MRPS chief Manda Krishna Madiga said 90 per cent of TSRTC employees are from low-income families. “If KCR tries to end TSRTC, then it’ll end KCR’s political career. Out of 26 demands, the major is a merger with the state government,” said he, while appealing TSRTC employees not to commit suicides.